Psychic Callie Sinclair has been invited to Hillwood Farm, a historic homestead in Sandwich, by the farm’s matriarch, 73-year-old Alice Turner. A recent widow, Alice is convinced the spirit of her husband Henry is trying to communicate with her. When Callie arrives it becomes evident that more than one ghost is haunting Hillwood Farm and not all of them are friendly. Complicating matters are Callie’s tragic past and her immediate attraction to Luke, Alice’s grandson, who also lives at the farm and thinks Callie might be trying to pull one over on his trusting grandmother.
That’s the basic plot of “The Haunting of Hillwood Farm,” a new novel by Mashpee author Kathryn Perrone, who writes under the name Kathryn Knight.
As with all of Ms. Perrone’s works, love prevails and restless spirits are quieted, “The Haunting of Hillwood Farm” is a satisfying page turner, a combination of snug, spooky, and sexy.
Originally written as a long novella, the story was included in the limited edition romantic suspense box set, “Love Under Fire,” which hit the USA Today Bestseller list in November of last year. The authors involved in contributing stories to the set all agreed to donate a portion of the profits to the charity Pets for Vets.
“I’d never had one of my novels included in a box set,” said Ms. Perrone, adding “the idea of both cross-promoting with so many authors and raising money for a great charity appealed to me.”
Because the box set was a limited edition and now no longer available, the books in the set are now being released on their own, both in paperback and on Kindle.
“Hillwood Farm” is Ms. Perrone’s sixth novel since she published “Silver Lake” in 2012. Mainly a writer of paranormal romance, most of her books contain a supernatural element.
“I’ve been interested in the paranormal, particularly ghosts, for as far back as I can remember,” said Ms. Perrone. “I’ve been a reader since I was very young, and I think some of the paranormal mysteries I read as a child really sparked my interest.”
While Ms. Perrone has written novels that feature characters carried over from previous books, all of the characters in “Hillwood Farm” are new.
“I didn’t intentionally base Alice on anyone in particular, but I’ve had this story idea in my mind for a long time and so her character had developed for a while in my imagination. I was lucky enough to have all four of my grandparents alive and living close by during my childhood, so I’m sure I drew some characteristics from my own wonderful grandmothers,” she said.
While Ms. Perrone said she’d had the idea for the novel for a long time, the box set deadline, coupled with the release of 2018’s “Dangerous Currents,” left her with only four months in which to write the story. “It was a lot of pressure, but in some ways it made it easier. I simply had to sit at the keyboard and get it done.”
“My writing method has definitely evolved over the years,” said Ms. Perrone. “With my first novel, I just wrote as the story came to me, without thinking a lot about the structure and pacing. It’s a fun way to write, but it involved a lot of revisions and edits. Now I really take time to analyze what needs to happen in each scene to make it effective and to sustain the narrative drive before I start to write.”
Cape settings are usually featured prominently in Ms. Perron’s novels. In “Dangerous Currents,” the fictional town of Ontoquas bares much resemblance to Mashpee, while Barnstable’s Old Gaol (jail) is an important setting in “Haunted Souls.”
For this book Ms. Perrone said she visited a number of historic farms for inspiration as well as local historical houses that are purported to be haunted. The novel convincingly describes the farm and its surrounding lands—reminiscent of the family farms that were once prevalent on the Cape with trails for horses and its own kettle pond.
The biggest thing Ms. Perrone hopes readers get out of her stories is enjoyment. “I write my stories to entertain readers so I hope they get immersed in them and connect with the characters. So far readers are saying this is a fast-paced, page-turning read, which I love to hear!”
In addition to writing her own novels, and her work as a fitness instructor, Ms. Perrone will be teaching a five-week fiction writing and publication class for the Falmouth Community School this spring. The tentative date for the first class in April 30.
Locally, print versions of “The Haunting of Hillwood Farm” are available at Market Street Bookshop in Mashpee Commons and Eight Cousins Books in Falmouth.